How to Start a Buy-and-Sell Business in the Philippines


Filipinos love to shop! Shopping is an activity that knows no season in the Philippines. Traffic, bad weather, credit crunch, or tight cash flow—all these don’t matter. Filipinos always find the best bargains for their hard-earned money. That’s why it’s a good idea to start a buy-and-sell business in the Philippines.

Here are a few of the advantages of running a buy-and-sell business:

  • Low-cost business: you can run your business from home and save up on rental expense.
  • Low risk: the amount of capital you risk is equivalent to the inventory you keep. At worst, sell them at cost.
  • 24/7 business: you are not limited by operating schedules especially if your buy-and-sell business is online.
  • Wide market reach: unlike the reach of a business with a physical location, your reach is not limited by local geography.
  • Pricing advantages: since your costs are less, you can offer low-priced merchandise and still earn a good profit margin.

In the Philippines, a buy-and-sell business is a good venture to start for first-time entrepreneurs.

Simple Business Concept.

A buy-and-sell enterprise is a relatively simple concept to understand. You acquire merchandise at a certain price and sell it at a price higher than the original price for profit. The idea of buying and selling for profit is a concept that has been around for ages. The difference is that the medium of exchange has evolved from commodities to currency.

Ideal Market Conditions.

The Philippines is notorious for being one of the countries with the worst traffic conditions. Our country loses an estimated Php 2 billion a day because of decreased productivity caused by traffic. Given the ineptitude of the local government agencies tasked to solve the traffic situation, there doesn’t seem to be light at the end of the MRT tunnel.

Our weather has worsened in the past 15 years because of the effects of global warming. “Downpour” is not an accurate description of our rainy season. “Torrential” is the appropriate term. Cities can get flooded within hours of torrential rain; and what is the by-product of flooding? Yes, increasingly heavy traffic!

“Best Bargain Culture.”

In the Philippines, there is no shame in buying bargain basement products. I remember a few Christmas seasons ago, one of my friends came home from Canada. She gave me a beautiful Armani shirt as a gift. I was a bit surprised when she said, “That is genuine Armani! I got it from a real Armani store.”

Personally, I didn’t care. The shirt was nice and fit well. It wouldn’t have mattered if it came from a thrift store. Besides, it’s the thought that counts!

Even celebrities, such as Anne Curtis and Solenn Heussaff, are known to patronize bargain stores. Curtis even has a show on cable television called F Word Out Loud with Anne Curtis, which chronicles her discoveries of the best bargains in the Philippines from food to clothes.

During Christmas, the most patronized retail stores are the “tiangges” or market stalls in Greenhills and the “ukay ukay” or second-hand stores in Baguio City.

Expensive Retail Store Prices.

A few years ago, I saw a friend of mine in the gym wearing a Nike Dry Fit shirt. It looked nice and expensive.

According to my friend, it cost him Php 3,500. A few minutes later, the gym trainer walks in wearing the same shirt. Both men removed their shirts to see how identical they were. Even the tags were the same!

I asked the gym trainer where he bought his shirt and for how much, “Php 650, from my friend who distributes online.” My friend with the Php 3,500-worth shirt just heard the sound of Php 2,850 flushing down the toilet.

It’s expensive to buy merchandise from the retail stores because their overhead is so high. They have to pass on to the customer the cost of rent, salaries, benefits, and power, among others.

So if you want to dip your feet in the ocean of entrepreneurship, a buy-and-sell business is a good venture to start. Here’s how you can set up your buy-and-sell business in the Philippines:

1. Find a Product or Service to Sell

The best thing about a buy-and-sell business is also its own worst enemy.

The industry is so vast and popular that there are many proprietors in the industry. Almost everything you want to sell may already be the product bailiwick of another retailer.

Unless you had an “aha” moment, here are a few tips on finding a product or service to sell:

  • Conduct a Keyword Research. Look for products or niches online that are popularly patronized by Internet users based on keyword research opportunities.
  • Introduce a New, Interesting, and Innovative Concept. One of the most interesting ideas I’ve seen is “Loudbasstard,” which is an iPod and MP3 player amplifier/speaker that is made of choice bamboo. It is a sustainable idea that caters to the personal entertainment market.
  • Solve a Customer Pain Point. Identify a common problem area for the market and source for products that can solve it. For example, people spend too much time sitting down, thereby causing compression forces on the lower back, which over time can cause chronic lower back pain. Look for a product that relieves spinal compression or supports the lumbar area.


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